It must be noted that director James Wan can now be perceived as the master film-maker of mainstream horror. It is the title that John Carpenter once had and rightfully Wan will reign with this title for many years to come. The ‘Saw’ franchise packed a punch with gore; the ‘Insidious’ franchise will psychologically frighten its viewers and now ‘The Conjuring’ franchise will scare its viewers shitless, simply because they are based on true events on the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren: America’s most famous paranormal investigators.
It is the intention of Wan to make the sequel completely dissimilar to the first film, as well as its prequel ‘Annabelle.’ From ones subjective point of view, his intention must be disagreed with, as the style of direction carries the same clichés and conventions of his usual horror film making, but in a good way. Tension! Tension! Tension! It remains high at all times, slowly building up until the climax releases to a big jump, where you can’t help but scream and the popcorn explodes on the floor like a volcano splattering lava. The excellent aspect is, there are so many unexpected jumps, jerks and jolts, hence only 30% of the film allows you to take a breather but barely for a moment.
Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits. It is of the famous Enfield haunting that took place in 1977. Frances O’Connor who plays the mother Peggy Hodgson is given another chance to shine and successfully does, considering her A -list status went off course since the early noughties. Her realistic working class cockney mother comes across as frustrated and desperate for help, which one begins to empathise with.
Out of the four children, the true stand out must go to Madison Wolfe, playing eleven year old Janet Hodgson. Apparently American, she attempts her best at an English accent, but lacks in the typical Enfield cockney twang. Putting that aside, she pulls it off terrifying the audience in horrific form. When she’s possessed by the so called evil spirit, her demonic voice will remind you of Linda Blair in ‘The Exorcist,’ yet Wolfe makes the performance her own and freaks the viewer out, forcing the viewer to sleep with the lights on for the next few nights.
The big players in the film obviously go to Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, reprising their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren. Despite the horrific journey’s they encounter, there is something endearing and loving about their performances. They play a husband and wife very much in love, but work together as a team. They are the true protagonists that will at any means try to set the wrong things right.
Overall ‘The Conjuring 2’ will send shivers down your spine. It carries all the conventions of a ghost story and more. The flying objects, the ghosts lurking, the children levitating provide a heavenly horrific ride. A beautiful calming scene of Patrick Wilson singing Elvis’ ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ is much needed, to provide relief to the Hodgson family after all the horror they’ve encountered. The audience need this break from the tension just as much as the family do. ‘The Conjuring 2’ can now be looked on as ‘The Godfather Part 2,’‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ ‘The Dark Knight’ of sequels, but from the horror perspective. The ghost horror genre is stronger than ever. Keep the Ed and Lorraine Warren files coming! It is without a doubt: Scary, scintillating and sinister.
The Conjuring 2 is in cinemas 17th June.
Director: James Wan
Writers: Carey Hayes (screenplay), Chad Hayes (screenplay) | 5 more credits »
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe
Runtime: 133 mins